Enjoy Sundays in Germany with these 4 activities
Moving to Germany is an adventure, to say the least. When I first moved here there was quite an adjustment period. The idiosyncrasies of culture, driving customs, food conventions and language barrier were all shocks to the system, but what took the most time to get used to was the absolute quiet expected on Sundays. For me, the idea that Sundays have to be spent away from mundane chores that I’d grown used to spending my weekends doing floored me for the better part of my first year. All of the shops are closed, there’s no vacuuming or lawn mowing allowed, doing any sort of work is frowned upon. Germany adheres to a Catholic-based holiday system, and the Sabbath day of rest is no exception. Just because the country aspires to quiet time on Sunday doesn’t mean that people are stuck spending a wasted day at home doing absolutely nothing, however. Germany offers plenty of options besides staying home to make the most of a relaxing Sunday.
Relax at the spa
The accessibility of the spa is one of the best things about living in Germany. When I first discovered that Mineraltherme and Wellnessbad were affordable, I couldn’t believe it. During the peak times of the year, the Mineraltherme Böblingen in Stuttgart starts at 11.50 euros for two-and-a-half hours, and an additional euro for every 20 minutes after that. In the average German spa, there are restaurants with a selection of food and drink when you need a break from the various indoor and outdoor mineral pools, marine salinity rooms and hot tubs. There’s also generally a European nude sauna for those 18 years of age and older. German doctors can prescribe visits to the spa as treatments for illnesses, so convenient locations and long open hours are important. For the little ones, there are pools (Schwimmbad or Schwimmbecken) available country-wide as well.
Germany is dotted with lovely hiking trails and opportunities to connect with nature. As a notoriously pet-friendly country, there are plenty of beautiful forest paths near large cities available for exploration lined with restaurants that happily accommodate furry friends. Generally, the restaurants and copious castles that cover the countryside are another exciting Sunday destination. Kids can get a fun history lesson while exploring these long standing examples of German culture. Outdoor adventures are really popular on Sundays, so if you opt to go to one of the bigger castles or parks, keep parking in mind.
Try a new restaurant
One thing that isn’t closed on Sundays are restaurants. In fact, it’s common for German restaurants to close on Mondays instead because of the popularity of dining out on Sundays. Explore your local area, and check out a restaurant you’ve yet to try. The weekend could also present a great opportunity to spend an entire afternoon at your favorite spot. It’s common in German culture to spend three to four hours at a time in a restaurant, drinking a few beers and socializing as well as eating a meal. Sunday is the perfect time to buck American tradition and try to eat like a German.
Just because shops are closed doesn’t mean that you have to stay home every Sunday. Tour your local area. Find things to come back to when they’re open. Public transportation runs seven days a week; you can take the bus, U-bahn, or S-bahn into the city and check out a part of town you haven’t been to when it’s less crowded than a usual day. Familiarizing yourself with the area around you on a Sunday is a great way to take advantage of living abroad.
Although culture shock is inevitable when moving from America to Europe, one of the best ways to face it is to take it head on. You won’t regret it.